It was around 18.30 of the evening of April 17 when I was leaving the asphalted streets of Zărnești to go into the narrow and sloppy sand path, surrounded by trees and rocks, going up, thinking: “where the fuck is this road taking me!” The way, the track, the route, becomes flatter; a wooden fence is discerned and it seems that the trees are lessen… I arrive to Măgura. “Wooow” –I exclaim-.
Cracked hands of 1.001 cement shovelfuls, quadriceps aching of stooping and loading rocks, back in pain for using the pic, raw hands of doing smithereens rocks with a mace, feet with blisters because of that tight and uncomfortable boots where, stones and water get in and make the walking more annoying. We are building a house in this little village of Transylvania, surrounded with the Carpathians and the Bucegi, two mountain ranges that protect it; waiting for the work day to end; so I will drink this cold beer enjoying the forests, the cliffs, the hills covered with very green grass where the sheep graze, where the colours of the evening fade away, with the wooden houses and the stables facades burned by the strong sun of these heights in count Dracula’s lands.
Transylvania, one of the most famous regions of Romania, because the legend of Dracula, written by Bram Stoker. Although Stoker novel is fiction, also contains historical references: “Vlad the Impaler” how he was named in consequence of the death of tens thousands of persons for impalement. Declared hero of Romania for fighting against the Ottoman forces in the 15th century. Some people say that Vlad the III was impaling its own people, so then, his enemies would ask themselves: “if he does this with his folk, what will he do to us”?
In Măgura there are many trekking paths. The mountain chains of the Carpathians and Bucegi hold much wild life. Yesterday at the evening, after work, at around 19.00h, when the dusk was seen from the outline of the mount, we heard the dogs of the houses at the other side of the valley, barking -if the dogs are barking is for a reason-. A second later, the dry sound of some rocks rolling down the cliffs echoing thru the whole glen got to us. The dogs kept on shouting. It was a bear, for sure; we didn’t see it, it took too long to go and get the binoculars. For where the houses are and how the precipice is, he probably went following the careening and penetrating into the dark pine forest, escaping from human presence, escaping from civilization. The wild black goats are too careful and gentle to let that big rocks fall down the ridge. Also, the wolfs wouldn’t, they are too smooth.
The workdays are long and tired, but entertaining, interesting, nice. We joke, they teach me some Rumanian. The nine finger man without teeth, has a moustache and is 59 years old. Always wears a white woollen cap with a horizontal blue line. We offer each other cigarettes and smoke them while working and doing short breaks of two minutes before returning to plank the concrete. We understand each other how we can. He smiles and dances occasionally while he hammers the nails in the wooden beams.
While I listen the workers converse, I realize that –being a language originated from the Latin- there are many words similar to Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese and even I can notice some Turkish influence –from the times of the Ottoman empire, I imagine-. Also there can be perceived a pair of German words. Between eight hundred and nine hundred years ago Luxemburgish inhabitants immigrated to the northwest regions of Măgura settling there. They are called the Saxons of Transylvania. Still some Saxon villages in the region where German is spoken.
The language is pretty easy, in a way. I just have to know which to use in the right moment, the right word, the right mixing of lyrics, accent and pronunciation and of course learn the Rumanian words to set up a good soup blend. Get a dictionary or a conversation guide and hear and listen and speak without embarrassment, and listen and listen…